July 1, 2011

Blackberry-Almond Bread


Blackberries bring back memories from my childhood.  We had a pretty big wild blackberry patch not far from our house.  My brother and I ... dressed in long pants and long-sleeved shirts for the sake of our skin, of course! ... used to take our sand pails and go pick as many as we could find.  Then we'd package them up in empty Cool Whip containers or butter tubs and go door-to-door offering them up for sale to our neighbors.  Might that count as my first job??  We certainly didn't make much, but that didn't seem to bother us.

While I was developing this recipe, I brought one of my test loaves to my parents' house.  (I often make them taste-test my wares ... they don't seem to mind.  No arm twisting involved there.)  When my Dad took a taste of this blackberry bread he said, "Oh, wow, that's good!"  That's the reaction I love to hear!  I had forgotten how much my Dad loves blackberries.  He and Mom were probably my brother's and my biggest customers.

So, I baked a loaf of blackberry-almond bread for my Dad for 4th of July weekend.  Shhhh ... he doesn't know yet.

Start with some beautiful fresh blackberries.  Now, if you're fortunate enough to have access to a wild blackberry patch to pick your own and they're the smaller-sized ones, just leave them as they are.  But if they're the big-as-your-thumb ones you buy at the store or at some farmers' stands, I suggest cutting them in half, like this:

Cutting beautiful, juicy, big-as-your-thumb blackberries!
Mix up you batter and then gently fold in the berries.  Do be gentle.  Stirring too much at this point isn't good for the batter, and you run the risk of having purple bread!
Gently folding in the berries
Bake it up, slice it up, and enjoy this tasty summertime treat.  My Dad's going to be so happy!
One word - yum.

Blackberry-Almond Bread
Source:  A Tracey original

Ingredients
1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour + 1/4 c. almond meal (OR just use 2 c. all-purpose flour)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 c. fresh blackberries, cut in 1/2 lengthwise if big


Directions
1.  Beat the butter with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 1 minute.  Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla extract and almond extract.

2.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  

3.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and buttermilk, alternately, starting and ending with the flour.  (I do 3 additions of flour and two additions of buttermilk.)  Mix only until combined; do not over mix.  Gently fold in the blackberries. 

4.  Scrape the batter into a regular-sized (typically 9x5x3") loaf pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack and then remove bread loaf from the pan.  Makes 1 loaf.

Notes:
- I purchase almond meal at Trader Joe's.  It is simply ground up almonds.  To make your own, place raw unsalted almonds in a food processor and process until fine.
- If you prefer not to include the almond meal, this bread is still delicious!  Just use 2 cups of all-purpose flour instead of the 1 3/4 cups flour + 1/4 cup almond meal.
- This bread freezes well.

Enjoy!

This post is linked with Sweets for Saturday hosted by Sweet as Sugar Cookies, Sweet Indulgences Sunday hosted by A Well-Seasoned Life, Meatless Mondays hosted by My Sweet and Savory, It's a Keeper Thursday hosted by It's a Keeper, Sweet Tooth Friday hosted by Alli-n-Son, Summer Link Party hosted by Yummy Mummy, Tasty Tuesday hosted by For the Love of Blogs, and  Cast Party Wednesday hosted by Lady Behind the Curtain, A Themed Baker's Sunday hosted by Cupcake Apothecary, Countdown to 2012 - Best Breads hosted by Finding Joy in My Kitchen, This Week's Cravings hosted by Mom's Crazy Cooking.

6 comments:

  1. Oh my! Your bread looks amazing! I bet the almond meal adds a wonderful flavor. Your dad is lucky!

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  2. My brother and I used to pick blackberries growing up, too. Well, we always called them blackberries but I think they were actually black raspberries. They had a great musky flavor and grew wild at our house. This bread looks even better than I imagined when you told me about it. I will be making this very soon. Thanks for creating it!

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  3. This bread is beautiful! I love the way the blackberries look, so fresh and delicious. Thanks for sharing on A Well-Seasoned Life's Sweet Indulgences Sunday.

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  4. What a great idea! I love adding fruit to bread and I like the idea of the almond flavoring in there as well.

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  5. Hi there, just passing by from FTLOB. I absolutely love picking fresh blackberries... they're such a lovely end of summer treat. A few months ago (our end of summer here in Australia) we picked kg upon kg of them and couldn't get enough.

    Love your recipe using whole fruit + almond extract. A little extract goes a long way, doesn't it!

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  6. Saw this on Pinterest - the batter is decadent on its own! It's baking right now and my apartment smells WONDERFUL!!

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